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Basic VII – Repentance

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“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”[1]  “The time has come.  The Kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the Good News.”[2]

Many are the commentators and theologians who will say the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are one and the same.  Whilst they may have their theories and reasoning why they are the same, and that those of us who hold that they are two different kingdoms are wrong, remember these two things: 

Firstly, to say that Jesus was speaking of two different kingdoms because He was using two different titles, Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God, is simply taking Jesus at His word.  Nowhere did Jesus say the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are one and the same, by the way.

Secondly, it is those of us who take Jesus at His word who experience the miracles of seeing blind men see and lame men walk, rarely those who have theories about Jesus’ words, and even if they did see the miracles, they will not be the ones who did the miracles.  For we must remember that those who ridiculed Jesus also saw the blind see and the lame walk, except that they were not the ones who did the miracles; Jesus did them.

Since there are two different kingdoms, then there must be two different repentances.  Rather, the sins that are repented of in the Kingdom of Heaven must be different from the sins repented of for the Kingdom of God.  It is reasonable to argue this, for even in earthly realms, what is illegal in one country is legal in another.  For instance, polygamy is illegal in Australia, but in Indonesia, it is permitted.  Thus, the sins that demand repentance in the Kingdom of Heaven are not exactly the same sins that demand repentance in the Kingdom of God.

Repentance is demanded in the Kingdom of Heaven when the Levitical Law is broken.  Sin for the Kingdom of Heaven is defined by the Levitical Law, and those who believe in the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven are listening to one who preached repentance and told his listeners, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”[3]  However, those who listen to the Preacher of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God are listening to He who preached disobedience to the Levitical Law as well when He taught that His disciples must drink His blood and eat His flesh, and who Himself intentionally broke a Levitical Law to get Himself crucified. 

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.  I tell you the truth, until Heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”[4]

Yes, Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets as well as the Psalms, but yet, as I have said, He broke Leviticus 5:1 when He kept silent when false witness was brought against Him, and He taught His disciples to break Leviticus 17 when He demanded that unless they ate His flesh and drank His blood, they have no life in them, even though they were alive.[5]

How would Jesus, who fulfilled the Law, then break the Law, you ask?  See what the Lord said, “But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live?  None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered.  Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.”[6]

Jesus did exactly what He warned Israel not to do, so all the righteousness He had that came from the fulfilment of the Law was wiped out when He taught us to break Leviticus 17, and He Himself broke Leviticus 5:1, thus allowing Satan to accuse Him and demand that He die.  You see, Jesus died by His own word and by these words of His,[7] “None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered.”  Thus, Jesus is not remembered for His righteousness that came by fulfilment of the Law at all, and we who are in Him do not derive our righteousness from Him because He fulfilled the Law, though it seems to be, and I myself have erroneously taught in the past that we are righteous because He fulfilled the Law.  But now, I see that the righteousness from the fulfilment of the Law that exceeded the righteousness of the Pharisees is not counted as available to us, for it is not remembered because Jesus broke Leviticus 5:1 at His trial.

So then, what righteousness is available for us through Jesus Christ?  Not a righteousness that comes from fulfilment of the Law, that’s for sure, but only the righteousness that comes by faith, and that is, faith in God.  For where Jesus obeyed God was in these words:  “I lay down My life… I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from My Father.”[8]  However, having fulfilled the Levitical Law, Jesus could not die, for as God said, “I gave them My decrees and made known to them My laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them.”[9]  As such, unless Jesus then broke a Levitical Law after He had fulfilled them, He could not die and would not have been able to obey the Father’s command to lay down His life. 

Thus, out of obedience to fulfil the Father’s command, Jesus broke Leviticus 5:1 at His trial.  And so in His obedience, He proved He was faithful, but made His faith full when He refused to take it up again, even though He had the authority to do so.  Instead, He put His faith on these promises of God:  “After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life, and be satisfied; by His knowledge My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.”[10]  And so He went to where all souls are suffering who have not been righteous.  He went to Hell and there He preached to those who were before the Law, but nevertheless were there because of the sin of Adam.

Refusing to raise Himself up by His own authority, He displayed the fullness of His faith by relying on the Holy Spirit to raise Him up, counting on the Holy Spirit not to allow David to be proved a liar, for David said in a Michtam[11] of his, which we know as Psalm 16:10:  You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let Your Holy One see decay, and fulfilled for the Holy Spirit these words:  “This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:  I am the Lord… who carried out the words of His servants and fulfils the predictions of His messengers.”[12]  Thus, by breaking Leviticus 5:1, Jesus died in obedience to the command, and by going to where souls are suffering and not raising Himself, but allowing the Holy Spirit to raise Him, He made the Holy Spirit the Lord who carries out the words of His servants and fulfils the predictions of His messengers, for it was the Holy Spirit whose power overshadowed Mary and He was conceived in her womb.  Thus the Lord made the Holy Spirit His Redeemer in a way, for the Redeemer is He who formed Him in the womb.

By so doing, He acquired a righteousness that came after the suffering of His soul, not a righteousness that came from fulfilment of the Law that carries no sufferings, not even death.  Thus it was His knowledge of all there is of the words of God that now allows Jesus to justify those who break the Levitical Law in order to obey Him when He commanded those who are His disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood.  And so, we who obey Jesus are cut off because of the Levitical Law on account of Jesus.  Thus He has to justify us, and He does, because He is the One who taught us.  As such, He is the One who made Himself least in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Since we, by obeying Him, find ourselves now cut off by the Law so that no sacrifice of bulls or rams can redeem us, Jesus then had to give us a Redeemer as well.  That Redeemer is His Redeemer, He who formed Jesus in the womb, and so into us Jesus also baptises the Holy Spirit, even as the Father poured the Holy Spirit on all flesh as He promised through Joel 2:28.

That is why Paul called the Holy Spirit a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.[13]  Jesus put in us His Redeemer, He who formed Him in the womb of Mary, and who carries out the words of His servants, including king David, as Jesus said, “David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit…”[14]  Thus, Jesus, having fulfilled the Law, also fulfilled the Prophets and the Psalms, and allowed the Holy Spirit to be the One to whom this word can be credited to:  “This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb…”  And who did Paul say is the Lord now, but the Holy Spirit?[15]

Thus, the Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, the Lord, who is the Redeemer to all who repent for breaking the Levitical Law and are given access to Heaven, for they believed in the preaching of John the Baptist.  For Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you.   For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did.  And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”[16]

The way of righteousness that John showed them was not righteousness by faith, for it required an external work, that of water baptism, akin to the splashing of the holy water by hyssop and ritualistic washing required by the Levitical Law.  The way of righteousness shown them was by works confessing their repentance, like a bull sacrificed for sin.  It was what God said, “But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all My decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.  None of the offences he has committed will be remembered against him.  Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.”[17]  That is why the teaching of John the Baptist to those who were baptised by him was to do what is just and right.

John told the crowds who had asked what they should do, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”  Tax collectors also came to be baptised.  “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”  “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.  Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”  He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”[18]  They were external works that anyone without miraculous power can do.  Thus, when John said about Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”[19] those who believed in the preaching of John the Baptist to “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” have Jesus as their Redeemer.  And so, for those who believe in the Name of God’s one and only Son, they will be saved.  Heaven awaits all who have repented from the sins defined by the Levitical Law.

But since the first citizen of the Kingdom of God on Earth came from Heaven, then it is logical that you cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you have entered the Kingdom of Heaven first.  Hence, the prostitutes and tax collectors who repented at the preaching of John the Baptist are able to enter the Kingdom of God ahead of the Pharisees, for if you do not believe in John’s preaching, you will never enter the Kingdom of God for you are not in the Kingdom of Heaven in the first place.

Thus, there are two kingdoms, one that is entered by the preaching of John the Baptist, and the other that is entered into by those who are in the Kingdom of Heaven who believe Jesus’ preaching, and hear the Good News of the Kingdom of God, “The time has come, the Kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the Good News!”  Since those in the Kingdom of Heaven have already repented, why do they still need to repent again to enter the Kingdom of God, especially if the sins in both kingdoms are exactly the same?

You see, they are not.  Jesus changed the definition of what sin is for His disciples, those who would believe Him and practise His words, whenever He said, “But I tell you…” in His sermon to His disciples in Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6.  Thus, adultery under Levitical Law required a physical act of sexual intercourse, whereas adultery under Jesus’ teachings requires no physical act, but only a desire of the heart expressed by a look through one’s eyes.[20]  Thus, repentance in the Kingdom of God is repentance of disbelief of Jesus when we continue to define sin in the Kingdom of God using the Levitical definition and not the Jesus Law definition.

Since the Holy Spirit was poured out not to announce the advent of the Kingdom of Heaven, but the Kingdom of God as Jesus said, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you,”[21] then He will only convict in regards to the sin against the Kingdom of God, and that sin is the sin of unbelief in Jesus.  That is why when Jesus said, “When He (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin… in regard to sin, because men do not believe in Me…”[22]  Thus, repentance in the Kingdom of God is repentance from unbelief of Jesus, and that includes any unbelief with regards to any part of His words, for either you obey the whole Law or you are a sinner as in the old covenant.  So it is either you have complete faith in all the words of Jesus, or you have sinned with disbelief.  And since we all have to an extent disbelief and disobedience of Jesus, even the first eleven, so we need to be in constant repentance, but that repentance is focussed on what we have not believed of Jesus and not what Levitical Law we break, for we are cut off from that Law as man-flesh eaters and blood drinkers.

This may be called basic repentance, and it is, but until you can see that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are two separate entities, you will not understand the difference between repentance for the Kingdom of Heaven and for the Kingdom of God.

And, for those who believe in Jesus into whom He baptises the Holy Spirit, can you see that He placed in us His Redeemer, He who formed Him in the womb?  Thus we are twice redeemed, once from the sins of the Levitical Law and once from the sins against Jesus Law, because those who already believe in Jesus have the same righteousness that Jesus has, not from the fulfilment of the Law, but from faith in God, from faith in God the Father by obedience and faith in God the Holy Spirit as Redeemer.

That is why we who listen to Jesus will only be convicted with regards to righteousness, a righteousness that is by faith in Jesus.  Faith that although He who is not only the least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but died because He broke the Levitical Law as well, is now at the right hand of God where we do not see Him because He trusted in His Redeemer who formed Him in the womb, the Holy Spirit who declared Him to be the Son of God by raising Him from the dead.  Thus the Holy Spirit gives us the conviction Jesus is at the right hand of God, and since Jesus said, “Where I am, My servant also will be,”[23] so we too are there at the right hand of God by faith.  And since we believe Jesus is coming back, our firm ambition to prepare this Earth for His arrival is the work that confirms our faith and makes our redemption doubly sure from both deaths, for we have been redeemed from the old Law by the blood of Jesus and have the very Redeemer of Jesus living in us as a deposit guaranteeing the hope of glory that is to come, the glory of Jesus arriving with His elect.  Thus the Holy Spirit in us as we obey Jesus and listen to Him, will either prepare us for martyrdom or to remain alive till He arrives.  Either way, we will see Jesus on Earth in the Millennium and reign with Him.

Since you now know that the Holy Spirit is the Redeemer of Jesus Christ, then perhaps you are now doubly appreciative of being called by Him to be His elect.  So then, repent, not only of unbelief of Jesus, but repent also for not listening to the Holy Spirit who is not only our Lord’s Redeemer and therefore, ours, but is the Father of our spirits.

So we do not fear what others fear, or call conspiracy what others call conspiracy, but we labour until that which was declared in Heaven is fulfilled:  “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.”[24] 

Thus, as elect of the Holy Spirit, we repent, not as men do, not as believers do, but as sons do when they have failed to obey their Father, and we sin not as servants, but as sons.  And what others may call sin, we may well call obedience, for such is the realm of the Spirit of God for those who listen to Him. 

So, repent and believe—and learn to see what believe is in the Kingdom of God.


 

[1] Matthew 4:17

[2] Mark 1:15

[3] Matthew 3:8

[4] Matthew 5:17-19

[5] John 6:53

[6] Ezekiel 18:24

[7] Ezekiel 18:1

[8] John 10:17-18

[9] Ezekiel 20:11

[10] Isaiah 53:11

[11] NIV Miktam – a composition so precious as to be worthy to be engraved on a durable tablet for preservation; or, “a psalm precious as stamped gold”

[12] Isaiah 44:24,26

[13] 2 Corinthians 5:5

[14] Mark 12:36

[15] 2 Corinthians 3:18

[16] Matthew 21:31-32

[17] Ezekiel 18:21-22

[18] Luke 3:11-14

[19] John 1:29

[20] Matthew 5:27-28

[21] Matthew 12:28

[22] John 16:8-9

[23] John 12:26

[24] Revelation 11:15

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